Invasion of privacy, handicap violations alleged

Friday, June 4, 2010

Marshall County, its Board of Education, and former schools director Stan Curtis have been served with papers in a lawsuit alleging violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as invasion of privacy.

The plaintiff, Larry Barlar, was a school bus driver whose contract was not renewed at the end of the 2009 school year. The suit was filed last month in the U. S. District Court at Nashville by Barlar's lawyer, Walter Bussart.

Barlar alleges that the schools' transportation department refused to make the necessary accommodations for his medical condition, a condition that was disclosed when he was hired, and which falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Violation of the Tennessee Disability Act is also cited in the document, where it states, "Mr. Barlar was discharged from his position because of his disability and without proof that his disability interfered with his ability to perform his job."

The personnel files of school employees are public record, but employees' medical information, as well as personal data -- social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and names of family members -- is supposed to be removed before the file is released to the public.

The second part of Barlar's suit, invasion of privacy, relates to the way a copy of his file was requested by school board member Dee Dee Owens and given to her with nothing redacted.

"Marshall County, the Board and Stan Curtis intruded upon the private affairs and concerns of the Plaintiff Larry Barlar, when it disclosed protected, sensitive, personal information to a private citizen," states the suit.

Barlar seeks to be awarded compensatory and punitive damages, plus costs, though no sum of money is mentioned in the document. "The Plaintiff demands a jury to try this action," states the suit.

The next step in the lawsuit is an "Initial Case Management Conference," scheduled for July 6 before Magistrate Judge E. Clifton Knowles.